The sun soaked into the skin on my legs as I sat over looking a very peaceful beach scene in a little Suffolk Parish nestled right on the coast. This felt so good!
It’s so important for us to get sun on our skin in regular healthy doses, I’ve always believed this.
As my friend and I drove back to Kent from Suffolk after visiting my Grandad I started to ponder about vitamin D as it was a topic that was mentioned earlier that afternoon.
The top was down on the car and it was a little windy, but it didn’t matter because it was hot. I felt reassured and comfortable because of the presence of the sun.
On Monday an email popped in my inbox about vitamin D. There’s currently a public consultation about vitamin D and the BBC did a short news story on it. This is not a new story. In fact I’ve known about the importance of vitamin D for the past 24 years!
But it’s becoming more news worthy now because vitamin D deficiency is a silent epidemic. The recommendation is that everyone should be seriously considering taking vitamin D supplements.
I personally agree because after living for 25 years in New Zealand, there really is a lot less sunshine hours throughout the year here in the UK. I do think we should all know what our levels are especially if you suspect yours are low because life is busy and you don’t get much time to sit regularly in the sun exposing your skin in the summer months.
1 in 5 adults are likely to be deficient in the UK and 1 in 6 children! Most people are not getting the levels of sun on the skin they need to have optimal function in their body.
Vitamin D is important because:
(a) it allows calcium to be taken up into your blood so your bones stay strong and don’t break
(b) it prevents bone pain, muscle weakness and fatigue
(c) it’s now thought to be linked with autoimmune diseases, allergies, pregnancy complications, depression, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and type 1 diabetes
The simple fact of the matter is that in the UK the angle of sun hitting your skin means you only make vitamin D from April to October.
So if you don’t maximise your exposure during this time and especially if you have pigmented skin (you’ll need double the amount of sunlight to make the same amount of vitamin D as Caucasian skin), there’s a high chance you’re not getting enough which puts your health at risk in the long term.
The reason why only a few foods are rich in vitamin D is because it’s so easy to make a good dose of vitamin D in your skin by sitting in the sun. Eating food sources alone will not sufficiently boost your levels if they’re too low as your skin is the main manufacturing plant!
Food sources are important throughout the winter months as are supplements, but the bottom line is you need to be getting optimal sun exposure (at non peak times and without the use of sunscreen).
If you would like your vitamin D levels checked – I can help! Email: email@example.com
Take 5 minutes to sit down (preferably outside in the sun) and reflect on the amount of sunlight you get on your skin regularly (e.g. over each week in the summer months and if you take a winter sunshine break).
Do you think you may be falling short?
Share in the comments below one habit you can create today which means you’ll get more sun on your skin. It may be as simple as rolling up your sleeves when you walk to the post office. Every little bit helps!
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